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Enterprise competitive and cost pressures are creating the need to rapidly adapt and streamline business processes to create new business value or increase operational efficiency. To that end, enterprise processes are becoming increasingly explicit and business process management (BPM) is evolving from a paper-based diagramming tool to a comprehensive solution that models, monitors, simulates, and redesigns processes for competitive improvement. The endgame of BPM is unprecedented process flexibility – where workflows (both human and automated) can be determined in real-time by the events or outcomes within the process. This helps allow the business to act appropriately and competitively regardless of the situation.

For this endgame to happen, processes must become independent of specific information resources and specific task automation applications. The integration technology must loosely couple the applications and resources that make up the process, otherwise the logic of a process will get hard-coded into a particular technology platform, which may be expensive to change and therefore defeat the entire purpose of BPM. This is where standards-based service oriented architecture (SOA) comes in. An SOA provides the technical ability to create that process independence. SOA standards, such as Web Services, make information resources and task automation applications available yet loosely integrated for process designers to use and reuse at will. Thus processes modeled with BPM tools can be rapidly implemented in production via SOA infrastructure.

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